Over 60,000 year 12 students breathed a collective sigh of relief on Thursday afternoon, while others hyperventilated, following the completion of the first HSC exam.
The first of two English papers got underway at 10am, kicking off a gruelling four week schedule for school leavers.
At Tamworth High most students were either “pleased” or “relieved” to have finally got the exams underway after two years of focusing on the end goal.
School captain Josh McCulloch thought the exam was “ a little bit tougher” than he expected, although thought he had done “pretty well.”
The major texts covered in the English curriculum included films Life of Pi and Educating Rita, the novel The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender, and Banjo Paterson poems.
“I have been doing about five or six hours of study a day for the last few weeks, so I now those books and movies like the back of my hand,” Mr McCulloch said.
“I’ve just got five more exams to go now.”
Fellow captain Sophie McLeod was also feeling quietly confident after walking out of the first exam.
“I have been memorising quotes and doing a few hours of English every day to get prepared,” she said.
“It was a little daunting and stressful once you realise it was the real deal, but it is a relief to know that I have finished that first one.”
For fellow student Khiaecia Andrews the first exam is the start of a four week six exam slog finishing on November 6.
“I was pushing it for time a bit, although I was well prepared so I just hope the rest go as smoothly,” she said.
“Most of my friends finish in the first two weeks so I will be the last to finish, and the last to celebrate.”
Georgia White “felt good that it was over”, although already had her mind on Friday’s second English paper.
“The HSC process is quite daunting but the school has been pretty good,” she said.
“You just have to try your best and see what happens.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes greeted students following the exam at Randwick Boys High.
“While this may seem nerve-racking, I implore all students not to place too much pressure on themselves,” Mr Stokes said.
“While the HSC is an important milestone in students’ educational journeys, at the end of the day it is just another exam.”